Bizerte (bēzĕrtˈ) [key], Arab. Banzart, city (1994 pop. 98,900), N Tunisia, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is an important port, strategically situated near the narrowest part of the Mediterranean. The city also has processing industries. Bizerte was founded by Phoenicians. While the French ruled Tunisia, they improved and fortified the outer harbor and deepened the channel to the Lake of Bizerte, where there are naval works and the town of Menzel Bourgiba. The White Russian fleet (1920) and the Spanish republican fleet (1939) were interned at Bizerte. It was a German base in World War II and was heavily bombed (1943) by the Allies. Tunisian insistence that France evacuate its naval installations at Bizerte led to violent confrontations in 1961; the base was turned over to Tunisia in 1963.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.